Forward Casting Fishing Rod Tips and Techniques

The basics of fly casting are easy. You can learn different types of casting fishing rods well enough to catch fish in just a few hours. As with any skill that requires eye-hand coordination, like tennis or golf, there will be times where almost no skill is required; other times you’ll have to call upon every minute of practice you’ve ever spent.

It is easier to learn to spin cast than to fly cast, but fly casting is less mechanical and requires more manipulation by the fisherman. This greater control and sensitivity is fly-fishing’s greatest appeal.

Forward Casting Fishing Rod Tips and Techniques

Forward Casting Fishing Rod Tips


Using your forearm, lift the tip of the rod straight up to the point just past the vertical. If you were looking at yourself from the side, the rod should start at the 9:00 position and stop at the 1:00 position. Let us find out the proper forward fishing casting tutorial below.

Checking the Fly Lines

Turn your head and see where the fly line goes from casting of fishing reels. With proper technique, the line should form a loop as you’re moving the rod and then straighten beyond the tip of the rod, forming a line that is parallel to the ground.

Forward Casting Fishing Rod

This is called the back cast, and when you finish it the line should be bending your rod as it straightens behind you. The line will shortly fall to the ground, because you haven’t learned the forward cast, but during actual casting, the Ay line should never drop below the tip of the rod on the backcast.

The rod must flex in order to transmit casting energy properly to the line, and if you bring your rod back too far the rod will not flex enough.

Feel the Rod Bending During Cast

You should be able to feel the rod bending as you cast. Some fly casters in fishing like a fly rod to spring: the energy that is built up by the fly line bending the rod is released, slinging the line out in front of you.

Nonsense, others say, the small stream fly rod along with the heavy-fast action rod must bend because it allows the tip to travel in a straight line, obtaining a greater mechanical advantage between your casting hand and the energy it imparts to the fly line.

As you practice the forward cast, which is by far the most important cast, keep in mind that while the line travels back and forth while you cast, Fly casting is really an up-and-down motion of your forearm and rod, working together as a single unit.

This motion keeps the fly line pulling at an almost perpendicular angle to the rod, which puts the fly rod to its best mechanical advantage.

Take the Most Mechanical Advantages of the Fly Rod

With thirty or forty feet of line on the water in front of you, lifting all of that line out of the water, into the air, and back behind you is a lot to ask of a simple movement of your forearm. This is where the mechanical advantage of the fly rod becomes apparent. If you are not using any spot lock trolling motor with a kayak, then casting should not be too high.

Don’t shortchange yourself by starting a cast with the Ay rod held too high. You can’t move much fly line by starting a cast at 10:30 and stopping at 1:00.

The too much slack line on the water presents a similar problem on a back cast. Your fly rod will work properly only when the fly line is bending it throughout the execution of a forward cast. Otherwise, you might as well be casting with a broomstick.

If you start a back cast with slackline on the water with casting fishing reels, the rod won’t bend enough until all the slack is lifted off the water, which doesn’t give you much room to lift the rest of the line into the air.

To get the most out of your fly rod on a forward cast, always lower the rod tip and eliminate any slack by stripping in some line before starting the cast.

Get the line back out in front of you and make another back cast. This time, though, turn your head. And then watch for the instant that the line is perfectly straight behind the tip of the rod. With a hammering motion that uses both forearm and wrist, quickly bring the rod tip back to its starting position in front of you. Don’t try to throw the line; merely direct it out in front of you with the tip of the rod.

Casting with the Elbow Tightly Then and Now

Back in the days of long, limber bamboo fly rods, most of the fishing experts taught students to cast with a book under their elbow, using a flick of the wrist to move the rod.

Any greater effort on their part would have overpowered the limp “spaghetti rods” popular in those days. With today’s progressive taper rods, casting with the elbow tucked tightly into your side is not only impractical, it’s plain uncomfortable.

On the forward casting fishing rod, your elbow should start by hanging comfortably at your side, at about waist level. During the back cast, it should come up to the level of your shoulder, returning to that relaxed position at your side on the forward cast. Your elbow movement should always be more of an up-and-down motion than back-and-forth.

Relax with Your Grip

Your first cast probably did not look like poetry in motion. Relax and don’t let it bother you. Most likely you tried to use your wrist too much. Try to take your mind off the grip of the rod and out toward the tip. “Thinking about where you’re holding the rod makes you use your wrist as the pivot point of the cast.

Instead, make your forearm pivot around your elbow. If the wrist is not locked into position at the end of the back cast, it may dip the rod tip too far back, throwing the line below the point where it is effectively pulling on the rod.

Forward Casting Relax with Your Grip

If you have trouble with your wrist breaking on the backcast, try this: before starting the cast, while the rod is pointing straight out in front of you, notice the angle between the rod and your forearm. Make a couple of backcasts, never taking your eyes off your wrist.

Forget about the line for a moment. On the back cast, that angle between your forearm and wrist should remain constant. Now, look at your backcast. Is it flat and parallel to the ground?

Put Proper Emphasis on Back Cast

If your rod tip is coming to a dead stop at 1:00 every time and the backcast drops too low, you may not be putting enough emphasis on the backcast. If you try to throw the fly line up in the air over your head rather than over your shoulder, it may be easier to keep the back cast where it belongs.

The backcast should be a gradually increasing acceleration, starting at 9:00 and ending at a dead stop at 1:00. Watch the fly line on the water. As you begin to raise your rod tip, the fly line will begin moving toward you; then it will suddenly leave the water. At this point, increase your acceleration to a maximum. The fishing enthusiast calls it power stroke. It’s a difficult concept to visualize until you’ve done it correctly once or twice.

Once the back cast is mastered, you have more than half the task accomplished. It’s easy to make a good cast with a good backcast, but nearly impossible to make a good cast with a poor back cast.

Timing of forwarding Casting Fishing Rod

The timing of the forward cast is important. If you begin to come forward before the backcast has straightened, you’ll probably hear a sharp crack. Moreover, the fishing line will fall in a big puddle in front of you.

You cannot develop enough power on the forward cast until the line is straight behind the tip of the rod, pulling on the rod. If you wait too long, gravity will take over. It happens to cause the fly line to fall below the tip of the rod. Again, you’re not getting maximum power out of your fly rod.

You should always begin the forward casting fishing rod at the instant the fly line straightens behind you. Even the bass fishing line will help you cast like this.

It’s perfectly all right to turn your head and look; even the best casters turn and check their backcasts occasionally. After some practice, this timing will be almost intuitive and you won’t have to look.

Different lengths of line require different timing. With a short cast the pause is very short, but with a long cast, it takes longer. Especially, to straighten all that line behind you.

Tips on Arm Movement for Casting

The forward cast is almost like pounding a nail into a wall that is about one foot in front of you. When pounding nails, most of the power comes from the forearm, with the wrist adding that final crispness to the stroke. Just as you wouldn’t throw your arm forward too far when pounding that nail, try not to throw your arm forward on the cast.

Your upper arm can move a little on the forward cast, but you shouldn’t end up with it any farther forward than your shoulder.

The forearm should end up exactly where it started—at waist level pointing straight out over the water. If you’re wading in deep water, over your waist, the forearm will end up higher than waist level, but it should end up parallel to the water.

Last Few Words

Problems sometimes occur on the forward casting striper fishing rod because it doesn’t direct the power properly. There is a power stroke on the forward cast, and it should be applied between 1:00 and about 10:30.

As the rod reaches 10:30 the line should be almost straight in front of you; from 10:30 to 9:00 the rod drifts down, following the line as it settles on the water. Too much power too late will make the line splash on the water instead of straightening just above the water and settling gently to the surface.


Forward Cast – Fly Fishing

Fly Fish – The Basic Forward Cast

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